In addition to former vice president Joe Biden, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg is one of the few candidates so far to sound like a credible commander in chief.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” Buttigieg explained, “Putting an end to endless war doesn’t mean ending American engagement around the world. Often, it means making sure we do our part to stabilize or help keep the peace, so that full-blown conflicts don’t break out.” He explained, “Look at what’s happened here. This isn’t even a strategy or a policy. It is the president systematically destroying American alliances and American values. And that makes America worse off.”
Unlike bland promises of disengagement, Buttigieg points out that “the 21st century is going to be filled with these kinds of messy, asymmetric conflicts, and we need to make sure that the U.S. is in a position to defend our interests and to live up to our obligations to our allies. And, right now, we’re seeing the reverse. It is horrifying to see what is emerging not just in terms of what is being done to Kurds, but in terms of ISIS fighters now being released, exactly as we were warned would happen. And we’re seeing the first reports of atrocities, too.”
Asked if he would keep troops in Syria, he gave the only cogent answer: “If that’s what’s needed in order to protect American interests and avoid a repeat of ISIS emerging, sure. … You look at the behavior of Saudi Arabia, you look at the behavior of Turkey, which is supposed to be a NATO ally, and, clearly, when the president green-lights bad behavior, that’s exactly what you get.”
He concludes, with every justification, “Under this president, America is being turned into just another country, just another country out there scrapping for advantage, not showing leadership, not in an exceptional position to shape outcomes around the world. And the consequences of that are terrible, both for American values and for American interests.”
(It’s quite a comment on Buttigieg that the guy who is a mayor of a medium-sized Midwest city has more foreign policy gravitas than members of the U.S. Senate and House on the stage with him.)
[read in full at WashingtonPost.com]